SIPs attract global accolades, get full-fledged ministry status – Presidential Aide

Tradermoni beneficiaries in Osun State

Justice Bibiye, Communications Manager, of the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) has said that the  SIP programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari administration,  have attracted accolades and are being upgraded to a full ministry status.

He said it would the take-off as the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Bibiye, who made this disclosure in a statement he signed on Tuesday in Abuja, and made available to newsmen, said that the establishment of the ministry was a strategy aimed at ensuring the continuity and sustainability of SIPs.

Buhari had, earlier, in a nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary, said that the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was to instiutionalise the SIPs.

According the President, the new ministry shall consolidate and build on SIP’s achievements to date.

Bibiye said that SIPs were endorsed by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), World Bank and the World Economic Forum (WEF) as testament of its national impact in Africa’s most populous country.

He said that SIPs were regarded as the largest Social Protection Programme in Nigeria’s history as the SIPs had four broad programmes, namely: N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, National Home-Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes, GEEP).

“At inception, the office of the Vice President was responsible for overseeing the N-SIP since 2016, while issues of funding, contract awards and procurement had always been undertaken by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

“An inter-ministerial Steering Committee, chaired by the Vice President and composed of some ministers, from the ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Budget and Planning, Labour and Employment, Women Affairs and others, also had policy oversight on the programme implementation.

“Indeed the SIPs have also been recognised by several local and international organisations for empowering Nigerians and meeting the urgent needs of Nigerians, in different areas including providing employment, supporting small businesses and poverty alleviation.

“Organisations like ActionAid (Nigeria), ActionAid Africa, Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), have all commended the NSIP for its nationwide social impact.

“The impact of the SIPs has duly attracted the attention of the rest of the world.

“Among the global recognition for the impact of its schemes are the Financial Inclusion Award, which was at the 2019 African Bankers’ Awards;  where BOI won for the GEEP scheme; the Tutu Leadership Fellowship for 2019, where GEEP CEO, Uzoma Nwagba, was named among recipients.

“Others are  the Public Social Entrepreneur award, given by Schwab Foundation, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum (WEF), to Mrs Maryam Uwais, the Special Adviser to the President, on Social Investments,” he said.

The communications manager said that one of the SIP components, GEEP, which was executed through BOI was recognised, as the most impactful Financial Inclusion Programme in Africa during the African Bankers’ Awards ceremony, which held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on June 14th, 2019.

He said that the award was for BOI’s role in implementing GEEP, which includes the popular TraderMoni scheme.

Bibiye said that the awards event featured financial institutions and projects from all 54 countries in Africa, as well as the international community;

“TraderMoni is one of the microcredit schemes under GEEP, where millions of petty traders get N10,000 loans.

“Upon repayment within 6 months, the beneficiary becomes eligible for a larger amount of N15,000 and all the way to N100,000 if and when the collateral-free loans are repaid. The other microcredit schemes are MarketMoni and FarmerMoni.

“Also, in April, the impact of the SIPs was recognised by the African Leadership Institute, when the GEEP Chief Operating Officer, Uzoma Nwagba,  was named among the recipients for the prestigious Tutu Leadership Fellowship for 2019, “ he said.

He said that recently, Uwais was conferred with the prestigious Public Social Intrapreneur award by the Schwab Foundation, a sister organisation of WEF.

Bibiye said that the award was another pointer to SIP’s global endorsement.

He said Uwais was named among 40 other global leaders, selected from different countries to receive the award in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.

Bibiye said that with the N-Power job scheme, which engaged 500,000 young graduates and 200,000 non-graduates, in key sectors, and the School Feeding Programme, which fed 10 million school children in 32 states, the SIP’s impact was felt nationwide.

“Indeed, millions of Nigerians can testify to the impact of the largest social welfare programme in sub-Saharan Africa.

“ This is because since its implementation in 2016, the SIPs have impacted over 12 million direct beneficiaries and over 30 million indirect beneficiaries, comprising family members, employees of beneficiaries, cooks and farmers,’’ he said.